Have you ever wished that there were guidelines or policies in your school that would prevent others from deadnaming or misgendering you in class?
For students of University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD), this wish is now a reality. On Mar. 15, UPD’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs released a memorandum called the “Guidelines on Affirming Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) Students’ Names, Pronouns, and Titles” crafted by the UP Center for Women’s and Gender Studies (UPCWGS).
The memorandum states that the guidelines are in “compliance with Section 1 of the UP Anti-Sexual Harassment Code, which states that ‘the University values and upholds the dignity of every individual, and guarantees the full respect for human rights of all members of the UP community’ and ‘the University shall maintain an enabling, gender-fair, safe and healthy learning and working environment for the members of the UP community.’”
It also clarifies that the term TGNC “refers to people whose gender identity does not match their sex assigned at birth (e.g. men who were assigned female at birth) and those whose gender expression does not match their gender identity (e.g. masculine women), respectively.”
Today, the @Official_UPD Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs released the UP CWGS Guidelines on Affirming Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) Students' Names, Pronouns, and Titles. 1/3
— UP Center for Women's and Gender Studies (@UPCWGS) March 15, 2021
So what steps does the guideline suggest students and teachers alike take in order to create a classroom environment that includes and affirms TGNC students?
Ask your students’ lived name, pronouns and titles, regardless of their gender identity.
UPCWGS notes that UPD’s current information system does not allow TGNC students to include their lived name, pronouns and titles, and recognizes that there are students who risk being deadnamed and misgendered because it may be difficult for them to notify their professors.
UPCWGS provided this sample prompt from one of its faculty members so professors can take the initiative: “What is your lived or chosen name, or your nickname? What are your pronouns? What title/s do you use? Note: If you are transgender, I understand that answering these questions truthfully may out you. Coming out should ideally be done at your own pace, in your own time, so please only indicate the pronouns and titles that you would like me to use to refer to you. For the record, I use he/they pronouns and the title Mx.”
Use a TGNC student’s lived name, pronouns and titles—and encourage your non-TGNC students to do the same.
UPCWGS suggests for those who are still having trouble grasping the concept to “think of lived names as similar to nicknames, in that, for some cisgender (i.e., non-transgender) people, their nicknames are not at all based on or related to their legal names.”
Equal Writes is an online tool that evaluates whether a website's language is gender-fair. This project is brought to you by AmpLab and the UP Center for Women's and Gender Studies. Check it out at https://t.co/Ntvi5vT5e6. View the info pack at https://t.co/aLSuedVR9x pic.twitter.com/37kdHwBwiw
— UP Center for Women's and Gender Studies (@UPCWGS) March 16, 2021
It asks that people recognize the vulnerability and trust a TGNC student provides in sharing the information by upholding inclusivity and gender equality in the classroom.
Model other best practices for affirming TGNC students.
UPCWGS also listed down other ways faculty members can be more gender-sensitive: including their pronouns alongside their names in their email signatures, having a lived name and pronoun clause in their syllabi and using gender-sensitive and/or gender-neutral language whenever applicable (e.g., using “everyone” or “folks” instead of “guys” or “ladies and gentlemen”, using the singular “they” instead of “he/she”).
The memorandum doesn’t note whether these guidelines will be strictly enforced or whether students can file complaints to designated offices should their professors fail to comply. However, we can’t deny that it’s possibly a groundbreaking move that can pave the way for other schools to follow suit. Team Preen once conducted a roundtable discussion attended by a trans professor from the university and we celebrate this triumph in the field of education and SOGIE acceptance with them.
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